By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s most influential politicians, labor leaders, and others held a strategy session this morning at the Union League, as city Democrats make their pitch to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention (see related story).

Former governor Ed Rendell is chairing the nonprofit group that aims to raise about $50 million, mostly from corporations, to stage the convention at the Wells Fargo Center in 2016.

“The benefits in the publicity and from the exposure we get are countless — you can’t quantify them,” Rendell (at lectern in photo) said today.

The former Philadelphia mayor and onetime chair of the Democratic National Committee says that when Republicans gathered in Philadelphia for their convention in 2000, it was an unqualified success.

US Rep. Bob Brady, the city Democratic Party’s chairman (standing behind Rendell in photo), says he’s heard that Columbus, Ohio is considered the frontrunner right now to host the convention.

“I hope Columbus is our competition,” he said.  “We’ll blow them away.”

While Ohio is an important battleground state, Brady takes a dim view of Columbus:

“What we have here (in Philadelphia is) the history, the restaurants, and everything else.  I don’t know what the hell is in Columbus.”

More than 60 heavyweights in politics, labor, religion, and business attended, including three former mayors — Bill Green, Wilson Goode, and John Street — but not Mayor Nutter.

When the subject of making a bid for the convention came up months ago, Mayor Nutter did express some concern about footing the bill (see related story).

Today, Nutter’s spokesman said the Nutter administration “looks forward to getting a report from the organizers.” He added that the city is “doing its due diligence on the logistical implications and the financial aspects of doing a convention.”

Supporters say the convention, if held here, could pump $300 million into the region’s economy.

Rendell says Philadelphia will complete the bid over the next several months, and he’s expecting the Democratic National Committee will make a decision later this fall.

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